“Deer Mural” ceramic wall-relief sculpture by Bruce Howdle.

Ceramic artist goes Outside the Human Habitat at Lanesboro Arts Gallery


Artist Bruce Howdle of Mineral Point, Wis.
Artist Bruce Howdle of Mineral Point, Wis.

Lanesboro Arts presents Outside the Human Habitat, a ceramic exhibit by Bruce Howdle. The exhibit opens with an artist reception on Saturday, October 14, 2017, from 6-8 p.m., and runs through December 17, 2017. The reception will include wine and hors d’oeuvres, as well as live music. Always free and open to the public, the Lanesboro Arts Gallery is open seven days a week through October and six days a week through December.

Howdle is a ceramic relief sculptural muralist and potter that has been creating ceramic artworks out of his Mineral Point, Wis., studio since 1976. His work ranges from nine-foot high thrown forms to 52-foot wide relief murals that require nine or more tons of clay. Howdle’s firing process utilizes sodium in order to melt the clay surface, thereby preserving the integrity of the media while creating a glazed stone piece that is very durable.

Howdle’s particular style, surfaces, and firing method creates works that are uniquely his. Taking a more gestural approach to the study of character and life, Howdle believes it is more important to maintain the spontaneity of the surface than the identity of the subject portrayed. He strives to see the clay and the gesture of the subject expressed through how he rhythmically worked the surface. For Howdle, it is all about maintaining the honesty and sincerity of the clay surface.

Working in clay, Howdle has derived a profound respect for the earth and what it has to offer. The malleability of clay allows him to create virtually any image in as much or as little detail as he wishes out of the simplest material and with confidence that it will last hundreds, even thousands of years. Howdle’s work has become increasingly more colorful and more playful while his thematic choices have expanded to encompass animals in motion, under-water worlds, human aspirations and human history.

Over the decades Howdle has been working in clay, he said he has often thought about “the days as a boy when I saw the rusted remnants of old cars, barbed wire and old machinery thrown in gullies to help slow erosion from farm fields.” Howdle stated that even as a young adult, he knew of these dump sites as places where wild animals used human refuse for shelter and as a hunting ground. Howdle said that was when his awareness of the contrast between nature and the rusted remnants of human activity began. Outside the Human Habitat is about animals in motion and the wild things in the human habitat.

This exhibit is sponsored KTTC Television and made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. For more information visit www.lanesboroarts.org or call 507-467-2446. Handicapped accessible and free to the public, the exhibition gallery is located at 103 Parkway Avenue North in Lanesboro.


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